The Pile of Stuff at the Bottom of the Stairs
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The Pile of Stuff at the Bottom of the Stairs

2.91 of 5 stars 2.91  ·  rating details  ·  574 ratings  ·  112 reviews
What's the thing you hate most about the one you love?

Mary doesn't know whether it's the way he doesn't quite reach the laundry basket when he throws his dirty clothes at it (but doesn't ever walk over and pick them up and put them in), or the balled-up tissues he leaves on the bedside table when he has a cold, or the way he never quite empties the dishwasher, leaving the...more
ebook, 0 pages
Published April 25th 2011 by Grand Central Publishing (first published March 1st 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,053)
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Anne
Christina Hopkinson's novel is a wry look at modern-day marriage, totally honest, often funny and at times, alarmingly familiar. All too often it is the tiny irritations in life that make the most impact on how we are feeling; the wet towels left on the floor, the piles of loose change and crumpled tissues on the kitchen table, and yes, the pile of stuff at the bottom of the stairs. Mary decides she has had enough of Joel's laziness and compiles a complicated list that has debits and credits acc...more
Kate
Had to read for bookclub. Would never have got past the first 50 pages if I didn't have to read it. It was a great idea, but far too negative and was trying to be funny, but did not pull it off.
Tanya Marie
Goodness ~ it started off hilarious and was very entertaining, a lot of the passages close to home and others a bit overdrawn. Once I finally got to the middle of the book, in hopes that Mary would get a grip and instead of complain, complain, make her lists of negativity and DO something, it just lagged further and frankly, was a bore to the very end. The couple, Mary and Joel, had many issues but then so do all marriages - that causes them to fall into bad habits that perhaps were always at th...more
the scarecrow
Grammatically speaking, just because I don't believe in marriage doesn't mean I have a disbelief of it. It exists. As proof, people regularly commit themselves willingly to what I believe is the last form of legally binding slavery available to man. It's not like marriage is a figment of the imagination and if so many people want it, it must be worthwhile, right?

Now, keeping in mind that I'm not going to attack this book with an anti-marriage stance, I still feel this book made me question why p...more
Sibyl
This isn't a terrible book: it's just essentially rather dull. The messages of the novel seem to be 1) being a parent is hard work. 2) Each partner in a marriage tends to think, feel and behave differently from the other. 3) Housework is tedious and women often end up doing more of it.

Fortunately 4) A little belated rationality/courtesy/tolerance means that most of us should be able to live more or less happily ever after, whilst counting our blessings.

Most of these 'truths' could be found in an...more
Bethany
I was glad to see that I could review this book without giving it a star rating. My personal rating would be only one or two stars, and that's really not fair to the book. It's an interesting, fairly well-written women's fiction book, and I can't blame the author for my total lack of interest in it. I kept reading, though, clear through to the end, mostly because the characters were (with a few notable exceptions) realistic and compelling.

My issue actually lays in the book's realism. Realism can...more
Carol
Mary and Joel have two young boys, both are employed - she is part-time at four days per week but still responds to e-mails & phone calls on her 'day off'. And they have a house Mary feels is never tidy and Joel believes is comfortable.

Sounds like your typical marriage, doesn't it? But Mary is fed up with doing everything while her husband walks away and ignores messes he or the kids have created. Still kinda typical. Then Mary decides to make a list and tally Joel's credits & debits. In...more
Jeanne
There is a pile of stuff at the bottom of the stairs, and it irritates the heck out of Mary Gilmour. Her husband, Joel, ignores the pile and climbs right over it. And adds to it daily! For Mary, the piles and messes in her home have become overwhelming. So overwhelming that she’s actually considering divorcing Joel.

Then she has an idea: the list. Mary creates a list of all of Joel’s housework transgressions. By documenting all of his domestic don’ts, Mary seeks some clarity. What she achieves w...more
James Stewart
"But you are not the only one, as there are some standard habits men have that annoy women to the core. Christina Hopkinson, author of the book 'The Pile Of Stuff At The Bottom Of The Stairs', tells you the top ten things that women hate about men, reports the Daily Mail.

This is a very funny, piercingly clever book, which is difficult to put down (does anyone else recognize the authors husband, my good friend the leading divorce lawyer and self proclaimed "modern man", Alex Carruthers?). Too ma...more
Lisa
The book started well enough but then seemed to be a constant moan about everything most of us find annoying enough about husbands without having to be reminded of it! I didn't particularly 'like' any of the characters, apart from Becky, and felt more emotional displacement rather than empathy by the middle of the book.
It didn't really live up to the blurb, and as a friend said, the idea was perhaps better than the resulting book, but the surprisingly decent ending raised it from a 2 to a 2.5.
Shirley
Always a challenge to understand Brit-centric books but the story was one I could follow...I could totally relate to the protagonist's role as the shaper of home and life for the household but not really for herself. In fact, it was intriguing to find out if there is a solution or at the very least what solution she came up with. Chacracters are well drawn and you find yourself feeling with them...for them...against them. Very interesting observations on an age old problem. Engaging read!
Alison
I like to read a variety of books on holiday - this was the funny one. At times I giggled out loud. A good lesson in focusing on what's important and dealing with things rather than hanging onto irritations. I've decided my husband's worth sticking with!!
Milly
I found that every time i put the book down, i always forgot the main character's name, untill like 80% through when I finally remembered it.

Good book, kinda funny, I kept thinking it was a bio. Didnt really get moving or shaking till the last 100 pages
Sherry
I could not get into this book at all. The main character complained and bad mouthed her husband the whole time. By page 100 I put it aside. I don't enjoy listening to people whine so why would i want to read it?
Heathermarvell
Reasonably amusing chick lit (does middle-aged still count at chick lit?) that covers how annoying spouses can be if we dwell incessently on their faults and small children are involved.
Carla Stafford
At first, I didn't know if I could stomach the protagonist. For the first few lllooonnnggg chapters, I found Mary bitter, and tough to take. Just as Mary complained of their friends and strangers, I too found Joel to be more charming and intriguing. Not to say that I would want to be married to his slovenly ways, but I am also not wound quite as tight as Mary...thank the good Lord;).

Fortunately, there were layers. This book tackles the complex issue of equality between men and women, not only at...more
Jessica
While this book did have some minor redeeming qualities, overall I didn't like it much. First the good points: It did bring up some points that I thought were interesting, and worth further discussion, on the battle between the sexes, relationships, etc.
Second, the last chapter was better, which will be explained further by my bad points below.
Bad points: The first bad point is pretty major, and that is, the main character/narrator of the story is just really not a likeable person for most of t...more
Sarah Goodwin
This, at last, is the book I was hoping for when I first bought 'The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year' except that this novel is sane, relatable and I could feel the truth in it.

To start with the good, I loved the clear process of thought in the protagonist, even when she was losing her marbles the author kept it all clear cut and simple. She really struck at the heart of the parenting love/dislike conundrum, without making her main character out as a being a cow. The children themselves were w...more
Ellie
I'm not sure what persuaded me to hang in there with this ultimately disappointing book. The protagonist seems a rather unlikable character, convinced that hers is the only view that's right, and apparently completely unable to realise that a) most of us on average incomes always think everyone else has a life so much better than our own b) that talking solves so much more than producing Excel spreadsheets (outside of the workplace, at least) and c) that she is obsessed to the point of OCD about...more
Lana.
Nov 10, 2011 Lana. rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lana. by: CBC's Writers and Company
Billed as "Harried and hilarious", Christina Hopkinson's book reads rather depressing. Thankfully, as she knows to make each page interesting - it was a quick read.

Mary was once a strong, independent woman who liked things to be organised and clean. Joel was her exciting, free-spirited boyfriend who she married.

Now, years later, the pair have two children, and Mary has too much on her plate: Child care, juggling a part-time position that has full-time responsilibities, and a husband who is res...more
Sarah
A cute read. English couple married for 9 years two kids and the wife has had it with the husband being a slob. She keeps a list. She's analytical like that. In her list she keeps tabs on all the unkemptness of her husband. Such as leaving towels wet out, throwing things missing the hamper, papers left out, dishes out toys not put away, missing evening time with the kids and so on. She also has very rich super chic friends who have it all and there is this comparison.
The 'plot' is dull. Will sh...more
Sharon
Insightful, all couples should be encouraged to write a list and strategically plan their next move. Enjoyed every minute of it, although I was sure I wouldn't cause there is nothing I hate about my Husband. Very entertaining.

And I loved, and to quote, "who knew that marriage was such hard work, that it would need a business plan, strategies and action points? That it would need daily gratitude, weekly sex and monthly board meetings? That we would sit with our diaries every Sunday evening to wo...more
Caeyn
A take off of "I Don't Know How She Does It" or a prequel - it's not on my list of things to check. Made me appreciate my husband, even tho I was looking at him differently with respect to housework. What woman hasn't felt put upon by her significant other and kids? But I don't think forgotten boxers on the bathroom floor are nearly worth a divorce.
Kirsty
The main character moaned far too much & so I didn't enjoy all the negativity. I feel that if the chapter of them meeting was first, or near the beginning, it would have been a much better set up. Also wanted to some confrontation with Mitzi whether it was about Joel or the 'thing they saw' on holiday. I loved the predictable ending because it was written so well - and I've also found a new use for lego - sharing out the chores.
Sarah
This is not as good a book as "I don't know how she does it," which is a similar tale of a working mom in London, but it did make me laugh out loud. The author seemed to have listened in on many of the very conversations that go on in my own marriage, and gave me some insight into them.
CuteBadger
I'd seen this book raved about by a wide range of readers, so thought I'd give it a go, but I absolutely hated it. I found the "heroine" Gilmour deeply unlikeable, hypocritical and a nag, so I wasn't interested in her, her husband or her children. One to avoid!
Sharlene
I am giving this book a one, because it flops. It was an interesting title (the reason I picked it up from the library shelf) and had some initial funny and fresh descriptive writing for the everyday OCD mother. I was reading it on a drive, and occasionally read it aloud to my husband because of the funny way it described some parenting scenes. However, the novel soon took a turn for the worse. It becomes pessimistic and whiny, threatens divorce and the break up of a family over the drop of a ha...more
Pr Latta
I loved the premise and the first few chapters -- then it got to feeling whiny and I flipped ahead to make sure it wasn't just a catalog of transgressions. I thought I'd empathize ... frankly, the list sounded so much like me BUT what I expected her to find was perspective: things weren't as bad as she felt. But no...we got whining and martyrdom and envy and eventually another list. I wondered why Joel wasn't unhappier (at the beginning) with the toxic, critical atmosphere. I skipped a lot of th...more
Renate
Picked this one up from my library hoping for something easy and fun.

How wrong my expectations were. Guised as chicklit, this is hellish stuff. Our 'heroine' isn't able to find anything more worthwhile than summing up the faults of her husband. And she sure has a hard time with this beast who leaves wet towels on the bed and never empties the dishwasher.

The upside with such a heartbreaking story is that any problems you may have seem small stuff compared to what our 'heroine' has to endure. The...more
Annette
How much can one person complain about their husband when he doesn't use the laundry basket? Apparently, enough to fill an entire book's worth of pages on the topic. Some parts were funny and had me laughing in agreement, but I can't imagine that the reason for a possible divorce would be based on reaching a specific number of times a husband didn't wipe off the counter, etc. Imagine if that's all someone had to do is present the divorce judge a numbered list. I also thought that sexual descript...more
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